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The Dr.Seuss Dilemma: Why Seussian Fan Fiction Does Matter

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There is a great line in Dr.Suess`s book The Lorax about arrogance and greed that is one of the best words ever written in a work of children’s literature, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better it’s not”. A character in the book called the Onceler, who now realizes that if we care too much for ourselves, nothing will get better or change speaks these words, for he too was once a greedy and very arrogant person himself who chopped down thousands of Truffula Trees to make useless objects called Thneeds. Reprimanding him for actions is the book’s title character, the Lorax. Dr.Suess, or Ted Giselle, wrote this book for his new wife Audrey, whom after he died, is still living to this day.

After the death of Ted Giselle, the story of the Lorax has now taken on a new guise. The greedy and arrogant Onceler is now a man named Ron Howard along with some other filmmakers and studios, the Thneeds are now films, musicals, a theme park, and various kinds of merchandise, and unfortunately, the works of Dr.Suess himself take the role of the Truffula Trees. A few years before the live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas was even made, Ron Howard tried to buy off the rights to not one of his books, but all of them; and way before that, a musical was made turning all of his books into the mind screw known as Suessical! Which now leaves Audrey Giselle as the defenseless but determined Lorax, who has reprimanded many studios and filmmakers for decaying the integrity of his works. In fact, she told Universal, after the negative reviews on the live action version of The Cat in the Hat, not to do any live action films with his characters again!

For us true fans of Dr.Suess, this was a major break though for keeping the integrity of his books away from studios like Universal; that have the ownership abilities to exploit his works to the full capacity until they do not show any signs of the work they are based on. However, our tune changed when Blue Sky studios made Horton Hears a Who and where granted permission by Audrey Giselle to do the dirty work of exploiting it, without any of her guidance. It was like the Lorax giving up his duty to protect the Truffula Trees and leaving it all to the Grinch, who does not understand what is going on and will lie about anything terrible that happens. In the end, the film was a terrible example of the originals morality. Horton Hears a Who is supposed to be about injustice caused by arrogance and misunderstanding of the dire situation at hand; the story is an allegory for the inequality and mistreatment placed upon the people of Japan by the American Government. Horton in the book is supposed to represent peace and justice, what the Japanese Americans wanted for Japan; In the movie however, he is clumsy, awkward, and absent minded (and played by Jim Carry of all things). Not the Horton we know from reading the book; but the studio made it that way to attract a younger audience, and not audiences from all backgrounds. I hate to spoil the ending, but it all ends with the characters singing an Aerosmith song! Explain that Blue Sky!

Now here is the big question we have all been waiting for. What is our role as writers in the story of the Lorax? Well… remember the boy, who is given a Truffula seed, the very last one by the Onceler, our role is that boy! We as writers appreciate what Theodore Giselle has given us when he was born into this world; he gave us new perspectives, an opportunity to read, an incredible imagination, and even new words and character archetypes. We know deep in our hearts the messages he taught in his books. If there is a mess, we clean it up like the Cat in the Hat, if someone oppresses us, we must stand up like Mac in Yertle the Turtle, if we see someone in trouble or hurt by another person, we protect them as Horton did the Whos. As writers of fan fiction it is now our job to… plant a new generation of Seuss fans, treat his works with care, create something with a new Suessian flare, and pass on his works not to people with greed, for the true spirit of Dr.Suess is what everyone, everyone needs!





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